Grades do not matter, students do

Sharlene Pioquinto, Staff Writer

It has not taken long for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to obtrude our country. Almost all schools have been shut down and many will remain desolate until the beginning of the next academic year.

A myriad of schools have already incorporated a pass-fail system for their students. If the school district implements this pass-fail system, teens will not have any problem going back to school in the fall.

Though the concept of the pass-fail system is new, it benefits numerous scholars ranging from low-income to special needs within the school district since COVID-19 blights on learning supposed to be going on in schools. In an article by Elizabeth Miller from Oregon Public Broadcasting, Miller mentions “that [Oregon’s] plan focuses on the mental, social, and emotional needs of high school students.” A plentiful amount of high schoolers are struggling with challenges such as disabilities and poverty in their lives. As a result, this pass-fail system minimizes the stress and prodigious amounts of pressure put on teens by teachers and parents.

According to the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), more than 39 million families in the United States are low-income. To take into account the children of these families, Oregon Department of Education (ODE) executive director Jim Green suggests that districts should work with community-based organizations to reach out to those students and express equity.

As we pursue online schooling, it is essential to give all high schoolers a fair shot at passing every class no matter what challenges they face in their life. In order for the pass-fail system to become successful, teachers need to confirm students imbibe the information they are learning.

In a letter from Chris Reykdal, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, he discusses that districts will “provide instruction using printed learning materials, phone contact, email, technology-based virtual instruction, or a combination to meet student needs.” At this time, teachers’ need to engage their pupils however they find fits. If anyone fails, teachers and school officials will find ways to ensure a student is on track to graduation.

Countless parents are concerned that if this pass-fail system takes place, it can affect their child’s grade point average (GPA). This has happened in Palo Alto, California where 300 parents petitioned against the new grading system. Their children exerted themselves in these rigorous classes and now it will not count towards their GPA.

This pass-fail system actually benefits any child taking AP classes. The weight on teens’ shoulders are lifted and they can relax as the school year goes on with online classes. It was proposed in the petition that high schoolers are able to improve grades that they had before the stay-at-home order was announced, but they cannot receive a worse grade than they had before this pandemic which means that the GPA they had can only improve.

As we wait for COVID-19 to mitigate, it is compulsory to provide succor and be altruistic to any and every student as we are in this quandary.